Foreign citizens might be able to volunteer for Latvian army in crisis

The Latvian Ministry of Defense (AM) has prepared amendments to the Military Service Law, which provides for the possibility to accept foreign citizens in military service in crisis situations, LETA reported Sunday, December 17.

Ukrainian experience shows that nationals of other countries can also effectively become part of the composition of the national Armed Forces. A foreigner between the ages of 18 and 60 may join the Ukrainian armed forces if he or she has not previously been punished for committing a criminal offense, has been recognized as fit for military service, and is entitled to enter Ukrainian territory legally.

Against this background, amendments to the Military Service Law of Latvia provide that, in the event of general and partial mobilization, nationals of a Member State of the European Union, a Member State of the European Free Trade Association, a NATO Member State, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, or Ukraine may volunteer for military service in the National Armed Forces.

The foreigner should be fluent in Latvian, or at least English or French. Language proficiency will be examined in accordance with the procedures specified by the Minister for Defense.

A contract of military service of a foreigner could be entered into for a time specified by the Minister for Defense which does not exceed the period of war or state of emergency.

It is intended that during the performance of the service the foreigner will perform active service and have the status of soldier. This means that he would receive the monthly salary set for soldiers and the social guarantees provided to soldiers and members of their families, with the exception of the right to a retirement pension.

The draft law has now been submitted for public consultation. First it will have to be supported by the government and then adopted by the Saeima.

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